By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A woman whose volunteer work has benefited untold numbers of children in Enid was named 2012 Pillar of the Plains Thursday night.
Martie Oyler was honored during the 10th Pillar of the Plains award ceremony at Convention Hall.
“I am shocked, humbled and privileged to be named. I had good parents and grandparents who gave me my start,” Oyler said.
She also credited her husband and children, who also are active in volunteer work. Oyler said it was a privilege to sit with the other finalists, Gary Kirtley, Dr. David Russell and Larry and Rick Simpson.
“I thank Enid because you embraced me. This is an honor and a privilege. Thank you,” she said.
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Oyler said she was surprised by the award.
“I had no clue,” she said.
Enid News & Eagle Publisher Jeff Funk was the emcee for the evening and presented the award to Oyler. He gave a brief description of all the finalists and the reasons they were nominated.
A large crowd of well-wishers was on hand to hear the nominees honored and the ensuing announcement of the winner.
Oyler is regional manager of Oklahoma Natural Gas and has been involved in many activities. She has helped a number of Enid organizations in the last quarter century.
Oyler has been a longtime supporter of education. As a member of the 2010 bond issue committee, she helped develop the plan for the $99 million bond issue, the largest in Enid Public Schools history.
The bond issue paid for construction of two new elementary schools and funded renovations at all other school sites.
The bond issue paved the way for improvements to Enid schools that had been needed for years, she said. Oyler said helping children is particularly rewarding.
“What better way to support young people than giving them facilities?” she said.
Oyler is community service director for Enid Rotary Club, having been a member of the club for more than 10 years. During the past 10 years she developed an interest in community projects and began writing grants to Rotary International.
Rotarians participated in Making a Difference Day, a national effort focusing on community improvement. The group also provided books for the Emerson Middle School library and was a partner in the annual fundraiser Festival of Flavor. That event raised $15,000 for technology at Emerson. She also participated in a program to raise money for improvement of the weight room at Emerson, collecting $5,000.
The club also became involved in Lincoln Academy, Enid Public Schools’ alternative school. Rotarians saw a need for nourishing snacks and helped provide them for classes during the day. They also helped purchase a refrigerator for the break room in the school.
Oyler said she comes from a long line of “servants” and community service comes naturally.
“I tell my kids at the end of the day to think of some way they helped make someone else’s life better,” she said. “We’re very fortunate, and ONG supports their employees community involvement.”
Previous Pillars of the Plains are Bert Mackie, Lee Thompson, Janet Cordell, Lew Ward, Dr. Charles Ogle, Becky Cummings, Dr. Jerry Blankenship, April Danahy and Doug Frantz.